Unsightly Self-Exclusion Breach Earns 888 Hefty Penalty from UKGCPublished September 5, 2017 by Lee R
The UKGC has established a whole new level of accountability when it comes to protecting players.
Heavyweight online gaming provider 888 is in rapid spin control mode after unsightly penalties from the UK, all in the name of safe gambling.
Faced with a £7.8 million penalty from the UK Gambling Commission, 888 has already provided a comprehensive response, starting with an acknowledgement of its errors which it deemed “historic failings” in protecting vulnerable players.
Picking up the Pieces
The online casino, sports betting, poker and bingo operator went on to confirm cooperation with the UKGC on improving player safety, starting with more effective identification of at-risk players and enhancing available addiction support, and starting with making amends to the players themselves.
Problem Behaviour Unchecked
Despite placing themselves on in-house exclusion from play lists, the 888 players in question circumvented the protections of software and account blocks through the 888 bingo platform to wager a combined total of £3.5 million.
As a result, part of the 888 penalty consists of paying back the £3.5 million to players who had opted to self-exclude, meaning that the UKGC is holding 888 directly responsible for destructive behaviour of individual players once those players put themselves in 888’s “hands” in the form of veritable cries for help to which 888 did not sufficiently respond.
Identifying all Problem Behaviour
A significant portion of the fine consists of the £62,000 awarded to the employer whom one self-excluded player stole from to fund his gambling habit, a total which covered the employer’s losses and legal costs.
Giving Back to Society
The remainder of the fine calls for 888 to donate £4.25 million to an as yet unidentified “socially responsible cause” to be determined by the UKGC.
Voluntarily Reported Errors
Meanwhile, 888 has affirmed that it self-reported the breach to the regulator as soon as discovered, the software glitch is resolved, and stricter measures have already been installed to protect vulnerable players including the expansion of algorithms to automatically detect problem behaviour.
While 888 and other operators may be prone to implementing software blocks aimed at protecting sensitive financial information from external breaches, the UKGC has now made it clear that all licenced operators are fully responsible for protecting against internal breaches from excluded players while significantly increasing the accountability level of all operators to care for the players that voluntarily go on operator exclusion lists.